Book – The Prophet (Summary)
Author – Kahlil Gibran
Genre – Poetry, Fiction, Prose poetry
First Published – 1923
Since I have been reading different books, The Prophet has been referred to in many books, and I finally read it. This is my first poetry book, and I liked it. Core messages given through fable & poetry make it more relatable. Initially published in 1923, every word is equally relevant today.
About the Author –
Kahlil Gibran was a Lebanese-American writer, poet, and visual artist. He is best known for his book The Prophet, published in 1923.
The Prophet has been translated into over 100 languages and is described as one of the best-selling and highly recommended books.
About the Book –
The Prophet is a fable about the Prophet Al Mustafa, who has lived in Orphalese for over 12 years. When he finally leaves for his home country, the people of Orphalese gather to bid him farewell and ask for his guidance on essential aspects of life.
The book is divided into 26 short chapters that are Prophet’s responses to questions posed to him at farewell. These questions range from Love, work, joy and sorrows, prayers, and pleasure, to name a few.
Synopsis From Answers to Few Questions
1) On Marriage – Love one another, but make not a bond of Love: let it be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
2) On Children – You may give them your love but not your thoughts. You may strive to be like them but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor stays with yesterday for longer than intended.
3) On Giving – You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. For truth, it is life that gives unto life while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.
4) On Work – You work to keep pace with the earth and the soul of the planet. To be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons and step out of life’s procession that marches in majesty and proud submission toward the infinite.
When you work, you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.
5) On Joy & Sorrow – Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. The more profound sorrow carves into your being, the more fun you can contain.
6) On Freedom – You can only be free when even the desire to seek freedom becomes a harness to you and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and fulfillment.
You shall be accessible when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief, but rather when these girdle your life, and you rise above them naked and unbound.
7) On Pain – Your pain breaks the shell enclosing your understanding. Even as the fruit’s stone must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain?
It is the bitter portion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
8) On Self-knowledge – Your heart knows in silence the secrets of the days and the nights. But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge. You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
9) On Teaching – No man can reveal anything but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.
If he is wise, he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.
And even as you stand alone in God’s knowledge, so must each of you be alone in his knowledge of God and his understanding of the earth.
10) On Friendship – Your friend is your needs answered. He is your field, which you sow with Love and reap with thanksgiving. When he is silent, your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, desires, and expectations are born and shared with unclaimed joy.
11) On Talking – You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts, and in much of your talks, thinking is half murdered. For review is a bird of space that may indeed unfold its wings in a cage of words but cannot fly.
12) On Good & Evil – Explaining Good & Evil nicely, Al Mustafa says what evil is but good tortured by its hunger and thirst. Verily, when sound is hungry, it seeks food even in dark caves; when it thirsts, it drinks even dead waters.
You are good when you are one with yourself. Yet when you are not one with yourself, you are not evil.
13) On Prayer – You pray in your distress and your need; Should you also pray in the fullness of your joy and your days of abundance? For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether?
And if you cannot but weep when your soul summons you to prayer, she should spur you again and yet again, though weeping, until you shall come laughing.
Al Mustafa then briefly answers a few more questions about Pleasure, Beauty, Love, Religion, Death, and more.
I have also created a video of a few quotes from the book – I hope you like it. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel – Myread4change.
It’s a quick read, and I believe this will help you enhance your perspective in critical areas of life. I loved the book and strongly recommend reading it. If, at all, you choose to read this book, Do share your experience and what you pick from the book.
If you like this book, You may also like The Complete Game of Life and How to Play it.